Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records In The World

Aditi Kandhari

Updated · Nov 30, 2023

Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records In The World

Introduction

Music lets us travel to another world, it can ease our feelings. In the classic era, people used to buy these Vinyl records and put them on a turntable. These were available in physical copies. Vinyl records along with other means of music records such as CDs and tapes are still in the market preserved by music lovers and collectors. These records have become rare to find and some of them placed their names in the list of Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records mentioned below.

What are Vinyl Records?

Vinyl records, Phonograph records, or gramophone records are simply music records in the storage medium of analog sound with a form of modulated spiral groove, and an inscribed flat disc. The groove starts at the periphery and ends at the center of the disc. The manufacture of disc records started in the 19th century. In 1910, the prices, compatibility, and ease of use made the disc viral. These records have an average size of 12 inches, 10 inches, or 7 inches. They appear in black color and have a circular shape.

General Vinyl Records Statistics

Why Do People Still Own Vinyl Records?

(Source: statista.com)

All of the above data shows that having a physical copy of the music album is far greater than digitized music. Owning one reminds us of a classical era.

Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records In The World

  • Wu-Tang Clan – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin – (Worth USD 2 million)
  • Bob Dyland – ‘Blowin’ in the Wind – (Worth USD 1.77 million)
  • John Lennon and Yoko Ono – ‘Double Fantasy’ – (Worth USD 900,000)
  • The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album) – (Worth USD 7,90,000)
  • The Quarrymen – “That’ll be the Day”/ In Spite of all the danger – (Worth USD 4,23,000)
  • Elvis Presley – My Happiness – (Worth USD 300,000)
  • The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – (Worth USD 290,500)
  • The Beatles – Yesterday and Today – (Worth USD 125,000)
  • Aphex Twin – Caustic Window (test pressing) – (Worth USD 46,300)
  • Tommy Johnson – ‘Alcohol and Jake Blue – (Worth USD 37,100)

#1. Wu-Tang Clan – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin – (Worth USD 2 Million)

Wu-Tang Clan - Once Upon a Time in Shaolin - 1st Most Expensive Vinyl Records(Source: mikeshouts.com)

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by Wu-Tang Clan is one of the rarest and most costly vinyls in the list of Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records in the world. The singer intentionally produced only one copy of this recording with a limited edition. It was released in 2015, being rare and recorded by Wu-Tang Clan the price reached an unbelievable cost of $2 million.

#2. Bob Dyland – ‘Blowin’ in the Wind – (Worth USD 1.77 Million)

Bob Dyland - ‘Blowin’ in the Wind - 2nd Most Expensive Vinyl Records(Source: suaramas.com)

Bob Dyland recorded this album in 1962 named Blowin’ in the Wind. The disc on which this song was recorded is 10 inches and can be set on a standard record player. This recording wasn’t made for widespread distribution in public, therefore being a limited and rare item, it comes to second place in the list of Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records in the world priced at $1.77 million.

#3. John Lennon and Yoko Ono – ‘Double Fantasy’ – (Worth USD 900,000)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono - ‘Double Fantasy’ - 3rd Most Expensive Vinyl Records(Source: auction.aacsautographs.com)

The reason to hike the prices of this Vinyl Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono is on a whole other level. The person who owned this copy was named Mark David Chapman, and he made one of the singers of The Beatles (John Lennon) sign a copy of Double Fantasy. Later Chapman killed John Lennon still owing the copy, therefore, it has Lennon’s blue sign along with police crime scene markings, all as some original notes of the detective from the actual crime scene. All together these, Bob Dyland – ‘Blowin’ in the Wind ‘cost a whopping price of $900,000.

#4. The Beatles – The Beatles (White Album) – (Worth USD 7,90,000)

The Beatles - The Beatles (White Album) - 4th Most Expensive Vinyl Records(Source: amazon.co.uk)

The copy of The Beatles (White Album) was produced with the lowest serial number which read as 0000001, moreover, only 50 copies of this Album were produced at that time. Bearing the unique serial number, ownership of The Beatles, and being unique made its prices rise to $7,90,000 in an auction.

#5. The Quarrymen – “That’ll be the Day”/ In Spite of all the danger – (Worth USD 4,23,000)

The Quarrymen - “That’ll be the Day”/ In Spite of all the danger - 5th Most Expensive Vinyl Records(Source: discogs.com)

This vinyl was released with only 50 copies around the world making it a rare-to-find record. It was released in 1958 on a 78 RPM shellac disc. The Quarrymen later joined the Beatles. Therefore, today it costs a whopping $4,23,000.

#6. Elvis Presley – My Happiness – (Worth USD 300,000)

Elvis Presley - My Happiness(Source: discogs.com)

Elvis Presly’s first ever recorded track was My Happiness. Later he became the owner of The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and White Stripes. Moreover, he is also a collector of gear and vinyl. Above mentioned Vinyls are owned by Elvis Presley and became the world’s most expensive records in the world. Due to the rarity of My Happiness production, today this vinyl costs around $300,000.

#7. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – (Worth USD 290,500)

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band(source: icollector.com)

The cover of the album, which has a mono version along with a black Parlophone label, made its price increase to $290,000. In 2013, a copy of this Vinyl Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles was valued at $30,000. But since the album is by The Beatles and has an uncommon color, during an auction, a buyer purchased it at $290,000 breaking the record for the original album in 1967.

#8. The Beatles – Yesterday and Today – (Worth USD 125,000)

The Beatles - Yesterday and Today (Source: clandlp.com)

Yesterday and Today by The Beatles received unexpected controversies because of the cover photo, it shows the Beatles dressed in Butcher’s clothes and dismembered dolls. Later it was withdrawn from the market. Before it went out, few copies were already sold making it rare and expensive reaching $125,000. It was set to release in 1966.

#9. Aphex Twin – Caustic Window (test pressing) – (Worth USD 46,300)

Aphex Twin - Caustic Window (test pressing)(Source: consequenceofsound.net)

The original – Caustic Window (test pressing) by Aphex Twin was set to release in 1994, but due to some release the event was canceled, it is said that only a few vinyls were manufactured and were accessible by the public. These Aphex Twins' popularity and the rarity of the production made the prices of the Caustic Window reach $46,300.

#10. Tommy Johnson: ‘Alcohol and Jake Blue – (Worth USD 37,100)

Tommy Johnson: "Alcohol and Jake Blue”(Source: genius.com)

Alcohol and Jake Blue by Tommy Johnson was released in 1930. It was labeled as one of the many earliest recorded vinyl of Mississippi Delta blues. Moreover, one of the well-known singers Tommy Johnson has increased the popularity of the vinyl in addition to limited editions of Alcohol and Jake Blue. Therefore, it costs around $37,100.

Conclusion

If you are a music lover, you came to the right place. We have created a list of the Top 10 Most Expensive Vinyl Records which you might be looking for. These are the most popular and expensive vinyl records, recorded in the classic era with limited editions and now many collectors are looking forward to it. Nowadays, the world is being digitized, and these types of recordings are hard to find in shops. Although the world may have stopped producing recordings on types of vinyl, there are some music lovers and collectors who are searching for the rarest ones in their collections.

  • Most Expensive
  • FAQ.

    In 2023, at what average price Vinyl records are sold?

    Coming to the average prices, unless and until it has any history, or is labelled as limited edition or rare, it could cost a fortune, but some of the vinyl records are still available at affordable prices.

    Is it possible to transfer Vinyl records to any digital devices?

    Yes, it is possible to transfer Vinyl records to any digital device, by connecting the audio interface and software that records the audio from the vinyl. You can save the audio in digital formats on your computers, smartphones as well as any other e-devices. In order to achieve high audio quality, it is necessary to accurately connect and transfer the file.

    Should you clean the vinyl records before playing?

    Yes, since they are a physical copy and set on the turntable, it is a must to clean the records. If it carries any dust particles, it can create scratches. Before cleaning, make sure to use the proper cleaning material such as velvet brush or carbon fibre cloth. Ensuring all the steps are correct, it can preserve the vinyl records for a longer lifespan.

    How do Vinyl recordings work?
    • Mastering: The music or audio is initially recorded and mixed in a studio. The final mix is then sent to a mastering engineer who prepares it for vinyl production. During mastering, the audio is equalised, balanced, and adjusted to ensure optimal playback on vinyl.
    • Lacquer Cutting: The mastered audio is transferred to a lacquer disc using a cutting lathe. The lathe has a cutting stylus attached to a cutting head. As the disc spins, the cutting stylus vibrates according to the audio signal, etching a groove onto the lacquer disc. The depth and shape of the groove represent the audio waveforms. Electroplating: The lacquer disc with the grooves is used to create a metal master. It is coated with a conductive layer and placed in an electroplating bath. A layer of metal, typically nickel, is deposited onto the disc to create a metal negative known as a stamper.
    • Vinyl Pressing: The stamper is then used to press vinyl records. Vinyl pellets are heated and placed between two stampers under high pressure, causing the grooves to be pressed into the vinyl. This process creates the final vinyl record with the grooves that contain the audio information.
    • Playback: To play a vinyl record, it is placed on a turntable. The turntable has a rotating platter, and a tonearm with a cartridge and stylus (needle) is positioned over the record. As the record spins, the stylus tracks the grooves, and the vibrations from the grooves are translated into an electrical signal. The electrical signal is then amplified and sent to speakers or headphones, producing sound.
    Aditi Kandhari
    Aditi Kandhari

    Aditi is an Industry Analyst at Enterprise Apps Today and specializes in statistical analysis, survey research and content writing services. She currently writes articles related to the "most expensive" category.

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